College Scholarships

College Scholarships

The importance of college scholarships cannot be overstated. Scholarships play a critical role in breaking down financial barriers and making academic pursuits accessible to a diverse range of students. They also serve as catalysts for educational advancement, facilitating the realization of academic and career aspirations that might otherwise be hindered by economic constraints.

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What are College Scholarships?

College scholarships are financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. The purpose of college scholarships is to ensure that students who wish to pursue post-secondary education are not excluded from that opportunity due to lack of funds. They are instrumental in making higher education accessible to students, providing financial awards based on various criteria such as academic achievement, athletic skill, extracurricular involvement, community service, and specific talents. These scholarships play a crucial role in alleviating the financial burdens associated with attending college.

Key Aspects of College Scholarships

Significance of College Scholarships:

Scholarships significantly contribute to breaking down financial barriers, enabling students from various socio-economic backgrounds to pursue higher education opportunities that might otherwise be unattainable. By providing financial support that does not need to be repaid, scholarships play a vital role in reducing the burden of student loans, offering graduates greater financial flexibility as they enter the workforce.

Key Scholarship Points

  1. Financial Accessibility: College scholarships bridge the financial gap that often exists between the cost of education and the financial resources available to students. By doing so, they open doors for individuals who might not have the means to pursue higher education without external financial support.
  2. Equalizing Opportunities: Scholarships contribute to leveling the playing field in education. They empower students from various socio-economic backgrounds, ensuring that talent and potential, rather than financial capacity, become the primary determinants of academic success.
  3. Reducing Student Debt: Unlike loans, scholarships are not repayable, providing a crucial alternative to students who wish to avoid accumulating significant debt during their academic journey. This financial relief allows graduates to start their professional lives with a more favorable financial footing.
  4. Empowering Underrepresented Groups: Scholarships targeted at specific demographics, such as minorities or women, foster diversity and inclusion in higher education. They empower underrepresented groups, breaking down systemic barriers and encouraging a more representative and equitable educational landscape.
  5. Fostering Meritocracy: Merit-based scholarships recognize and reward exceptional academic achievements, talents, or skills. By doing so, they incentivize students to strive for excellence, fostering a culture of meritocracy within educational institutions.
  6. Investing in the Future: Scholarships are not just immediate financial aids; they are investments in the future. By supporting students in their educational pursuits, scholarships contribute to the development of a skilled and educated workforce, driving societal progress and innovation.
  7. Transformative Impact: The impact of a scholarship extends beyond the individual recipient. It has a ripple effect, influencing families, communities, and even entire societies. By providing opportunities for education, scholarships contribute to positive societal change.

The pursuit of higher education often comes with substantial financial challenges, creating barriers that can hinder access and success for many individuals. Understanding and addressing these financial hurdles is crucial for creating a more inclusive and equitable educational landscape.

Where to Find College Scholarships

There are a number of ways to search for scholarships, particularly now that we have access to so much information on the internet and there are so many free resources to save us time and energy when searching for scholarships, among other things.

Online Scholarship Databases

The search for scholarships spans various avenues, with online scholarship databases being a primary resource. Platforms like allow students to create profiles and match with scholarships based on academic achievements, interests, and background. Institutional scholarships offered by colleges and universities, including merit-based, need-based, and departmental scholarships, constitute another valuable source of financial support.

Public Library and High School Counselor

Naturally, you should look at bulletin boards at your high school, ask you school counselor and inquire with your local librarian. These are all viable ways to find local scholarship opportunities. Nonprofit organizations, community foundations, and professional associations contribute to the scholarship landscape, each offering unique opportunities. Government and state-based scholarships, accessed through the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), provide federal and state-level financial aid. If you qualify for these scholarships, they should be posted at your high school or in the public library.

Corporate and industry-specific scholarships, often tied to a company's mission or particular career fields, further diversify the range of opportunities. Seeking guidance from high school counselors, college advisors, online forums, and communities enhances students' scholarship exploration. By employing a comprehensive approach that encompasses these diverse channels, students can significantly enhance their prospects of securing financial assistance and realizing their academic aspirations.

What Types of Scholarships are Available?

  1. Merit-Based Scholarships:
    • Academic Scholarships: Awarded based on academic achievements, typically high GPA, standardized test scores, and class rank.
    • Athletic Scholarships: Granted to exceptional athletes who demonstrate outstanding skills in sports.
  2. Need-Based Scholarships:
    • Financial Need Scholarships: Awarded to students who demonstrate significant financial need, often determined through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or similar processes.
  3. Identity-Based Scholarships:
    • Minority Scholarships: Designed to support underrepresented minorities, including African American, Hispanic, Native American, and LGBTQ+ students.
    • Women's Scholarships: Aimed at empowering and supporting female students in various fields of study.
  4. College or University Scholarships:
    • Institutional Scholarships: Offered by specific colleges or universities to attract talented students to their programs.
    • Departmental Scholarships: Provided by individual academic departments within a college or university.

There are so many different scholarships, grants, fellowships and other opportunities available for every student and situation; it is just a matter of figuring out which ones most deserve your time and efforts. Let’s delve deeper into some of the above types of financial aid opportunities.

College and University Scholarships

For most students, the majority of financial aid is going to come from the college they will be or are attending. It is important to keep this in mind and to make sure that you compare student aid letters and know how much you are expected to contribute vs. how much you are getting in funds that don’t need to be repaid; aka scholarships and grants.

Colleges and universities play a pivotal role in providing financial support to students through a range of scholarship opportunities. These institutional scholarships come in various forms, including merit-based scholarships, need-based scholarships, athletic scholarships and departmental scholarships.

Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit scholarships are based on a student’s accomplishments rather than their ability to demonstrate financial need via the FAFSA. Some colleges and universities will not offer this type of scholarship; those with very large endowments, for example, which are more concerned with making certain those who are challenged financially are able to attend college.

A common type of merit scholarship is the academic merit scholarship, which is awarded to students with exceptional academic records, typically based on GPA and ACT and/or SAT scores. For some schools, this is basically the initial qualifier and they will not consider those falling beneath their established threshold.

Beyond academic achievements, merit scholarships may include excellence in the arts, athletics, leadership, or even community service and social action. Many colleges are interested in enrolling civic-minded students who they feel will be a valuable addition to their campus due to their demonstrated leadership and action with regard to topics about which they are passionate.

The criteria for merit scholarships vary widely, and institutions may have their own specific requirements and selection processes. Some scholarships are automatically awarded based on application materials, while others may require additional essays, interviews, or portfolio submissions.

Merit scholarships play a crucial role in making higher education more accessible to deserving students, as they provide financial support without the burden of repayment. These scholarships can significantly reduce the overall cost of tuition and other educational expenses, making it possible for talented and accomplished individuals to pursue their academic and career goals.

Students seeking merit scholarships should thoroughly research the eligibility criteria and application processes for each scholarship opportunity. Many colleges and universities, as well as private organizations, offer a range of merit-based awards to attract and support a diverse and accomplished student body.

Athletic Scholarships

Athletic scholarships are fairly self-explanatory but also quite nuanced. There are three divisions and different rules and guidelines for each of them. Read on to learn more about whether you may be able to help pay for your education based on your athletic prowess and participation.

Division I Athletic Scholarships

If you are a Division I prospect, you are probably being recruited and if you are not, you probably should be getting video of your performance uploaded and shared with the schools you want to attend. Only the best athletes will be able to get a scholarship to play at the highest collegiate level for the top schools in the country.

Division II Athletic Scholarships

Division II colleges do offer athletic scholarships, but the rules and regulations regarding scholarships in Division II differ from those in Division I. In Division II, there is a combination of full and partial athletic scholarships available for student-athletes. These scholarships can cover various expenses, including tuition, fees, room, board, and course-related books.

It's important to note that Division II institutions have fewer athletic scholarships to offer compared to Division I schools. Additionally, Division II colleges often emphasize a balance between athletics and academics, and many student-athletes receive a combination of athletic and academic scholarships.

To be eligible for an athletic scholarship in Division II, student-athletes must meet the eligibility requirements set by the NCAA. These requirements include maintaining a certain academic standing and amateurism status.

Prospective student-athletes interested in Division II athletic scholarships should reach out to the coaches of the sports they are interested in, as coaches play a key role in the recruiting and scholarship awarding process. Additionally, staying informed about NCAA rules and regulations is essential for navigating the recruitment and scholarship application process at Division II institutions.

Division III Athletic Scholarships

Division III colleges and universities in the United States do not offer athletic scholarships. Unlike Division I and Division II schools, Division III institutions follow a philosophy that places a greater emphasis on the overall college experience, balancing academics and extracurricular activities, including athletics.

Departmental Scholarships

Departmental scholarships are specific to academic majors, encouraging students to excel in particular fields of study. Navigating these opportunities requires students to thoroughly research the scholarship landscape of their chosen institutions. This involves exploring the financial aid and scholarship pages on college websites, attending informational sessions, and connecting with the financial aid office for personalized guidance.

Additionally, maintaining a strong academic record, actively participating in extracurricular activities, and showcasing leadership skills can enhance a student's eligibility for these scholarships.

By being proactive and strategic in their approach, students can maximize their chances of securing institutional scholarships that align with their academic and personal achievements.

Cards Against Humanity Science Ambassador Scholarship

  • Amount $160,000
  • Deadline December 13, 2023

The Science Ambassador Scholarship aims to empower and recognize the academic contributions of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). To apply, prospective candidates are required to create a three-minute educational video showcasing their passion for a STEM topic. The scholarship emphasizes creativity, accuracy, and a demonstrable enthusiasm for the chosen subject. ... Read more

Burger King Scholars

  • Amount $60,000
  • Deadline December 15, 2023

The Burger King Scholars Program is a beacon of educational support, providing financial assistance to a diverse range of students. This comprehensive program offers opportunities for both high school seniors and employees, emphasizing accessibility and inclusivity. Scholarship Details Burger King General High School Senior Track: Available to all high school seniors who meet the ... Read more

Taco Bell Live Más Scholarship

  • Amount $25,000
  • Deadline January 3, 2024

The Live Más Scholarship is for students who are pursuing higher education, preparing for the workforce, or channeling their passion into transformative changes in their communities and beyond. Our belief in your potential is unwavering and we support you at every stage of your journey, whether you're just beginning to recognize your strengths, or you're already making strides in bringing your ... Read more

GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program

  • Amount $40,000
  • Deadline January 4, 2024

The GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program, in partnership with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, offers significant financial aid to high school seniors across the nation who exemplify leadership, drive, integrity, and citizenship. This program aims to support a diverse group of over 200 student leaders in various fields, contributing a significant amount of $8.2 million to students ... Read more

John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest

  • Amount $10,000
  • Deadline January 12, 2024

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides financial support, staffing, and creative resources for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The Kennedy Library Foundation is not a grant-making foundation. Through its Board of Directors, its committees and staff, the Foundation assists the Library in the planning and establishment of its long-term ... Read more

TheDream.US Opportunity Scholarship

  • Amount $80,000
  • Deadline January 31, 2024

We believe in breaking down barriers to education, especially for those who face challenges due to their immigration status. Our Opportunity Scholarship is designed for undocumented students living in locked-out states, where accessing higher education seems like an insurmountable obstacle. If you find yourself in such a situation, we are here to open doors for you. Key Features of the ... Read more

John Lennon Scholarships

  • Amount $20,000
  • Deadline February 3, 2024

The John Lennon Scholarships are an annual competition open to student songwriters and composers of contemporary musical genres including alternative, pop, rock, indie, electronica, R&B, and experimental. Over the past twenty years, more than $400,000 in scholarships has been awarded to talented young musicians from colleges and universities throughout the United States, making this award one of ... Read more

McDonald’s HACER National Scholarship

  • Amount $100,000
  • Deadline February 6, 2024

McDonald's is giving away scholarships worth up to $100,000 to as many as 30 students with at least one parent of Hispanic heritage. Check out the requirements below to find out if the McDonald’s® HACER® National Scholarship is right for you: Applicants must be a high school senior, legal U.S. resident who is younger than 21 years old. You must carry a minimum 2.8 GPA, be eligible to attend a ... Read more

Davidson Fellows Scholarship

  • Amount $50,000
  • Deadline February 14, 2024

The Davidson Fellows Scholarship awards scholarships to extraordinary young people, 18 and under, who have completed a significant piece of work. Application categories are Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Literature, Music, Philosophy and Outside the Box. Davidson Fellows are honored every year in Washington, D.C. with Congressional meetings and a special reception. Applicants must ... Read more

HBCU Week x NFL Scholarship

  • Amount $10,000
  • Deadline February 16, 2024

The mission of HBCU Week is to encourage high-school aged youth to enroll into HBCU’s, provide scholarship dollars for matriculation and sustain a pipeline for employment from undergraduate school to corporate America. This scholarship is open to students entering an HBCU and working towards a bachelor’s degree. Applicants will have to provide proof of acceptance into a Historically Black College ... Read more

Ceiba Diversity Scholarship

  • Amount $5,000
  • Deadline March 1, 2024

The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit international conservation organization committed to fostering and supporting diversity in environmental science. Our Diversity Scholarship enables minority students of limited financial means to travel to the tropics and gain international experience in biological research and conservation on Ceiba’s “Tropical Conservation ... Read more

Doodle for Google Scholarship

  • Amount $30,000
  • Deadline March 14, 2024

The Doodle for Google Scholarship is a unique contest that awards students for their artistic and creative skills. The scholarship program focuses on a theme and invites participants to express this through their artwork. The contest is judged on artistic skill, creativity and originality, and how well the theme is expressed in the doodle. Scholarship Details National Winner gets a ... Read more

911 Promise Scholarship

  • Amount $15,000
  • Deadline March 15, 2024

The 9/11 Promise Run is dedicated to offering scholarships to deserving children of first responders and military service members who have endured loss or injury, rendering them unable to pursue employment. Our mission is to make a positive impact on the lives of these children and families by providing financial support for their education. Scholarship Details: • Scholarship amounts ... Read more

Women in Cyber Scholarship Program

  • Amount $10,000
  • Deadline March 17, 2024

A diverse talent pool is fast becoming a business imperative. We need a wide variety of different experiences, skillsets, and ways of thinking in order to stay ahead of nimble and innovative cyber criminals as the financial system evolves. Scholarship Details Financial Award: $10,000 USD Mentorship: Academic year mentorship from a financial services firm. Conference ... Read more

Girl Up Sports Fellowship

  • Amount $2,500
  • Deadline April 3, 2024

Girl Up is committed to bridging the gender gap in sports and breaking down barriers everywhere they exist. Supported by partners and donors, the new Girl Up Sports Fellowship honors young leaders’ unwavering commitment to making the world a better place for every girl, everywhere. From youth sports teams and professional athletes, to the back-end business of sports, girls and women face ... Read more

Organization of Latino Actuaries Scholarship Program

  • Amount $7,500
  • Deadline April 15, 2024

The Organization of Latino Actuaries (OLA) is on a mission to increase the representation of Latine actuaries. To further this vision, we proudly offer academic scholarships to Latinos who will be entering a U.S. college or university in the upcoming academic year and have a keen interest in the actuarial profession. Our scholarship application window is open from November 1st, through April ... Read more

Exceptional Youth Scholarship

  • Amount $10,000
  • Deadline April 15, 2024

The Exceptional Youth Scholarship, sponsored by the Foundation for Global Sports Development, stands as a beacon of recognition for high school seniors who embody excellence in academics and a profound commitment to community service. This scholarship program is designed to empower the future leaders who have not only excelled academically but have also made a significant impact through their ... Read more

Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

  • Amount $10,000
  • Deadline April 15, 2024

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes welcomes applications from public-spirited young people and honors outstanding young leaders who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. Their leadership and courage make them true heroes - and inspirations to us all. Applicants must be 8 to 18 years of age and must be permanent residents of the U.S or Canada, and must be ... Read more

Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation

  • Amount $20,000
  • Deadline May 1, 2024

Attention high school seniors and post-secondary students! If you're passionate about a career in printing technology, printing management, graphic communication, packaging, or publishing, the PGSF Scholarship is your key to advancing your education and future in this dynamic field. Here are the essential details you need to know: Eligibility: To be considered for this prestigious ... Read more

The Paradigm Challenge

  • Amount $100,000
  • Deadline May 1, 2024

The Paradigm Challenge is an ongoing competition that invites students up to age 18 from around the world to use kindness, creativity, and collaboration to help solve real-life problems and make a difference. Students may enter the Paradigm Challenge individually or as teams of any size. All types of entries are welcome, including posters, videos, inventions, public messages, community events, ... Read more

Cure Cancer Support Scholarship

  • Amount $5,000
  • Deadline June 1, 2024

The scholarship is designated for students who were diagnosed with cancer and whose disease and related treatments placed a significant financial burden on them and their families. Scholarship recipients must furnish a letter of confirmation by a licensed physician as proof of their cancer diagnosis. Please note that this documentation will be required following the award notification and ... Read more

Stuck At Prom Scholarship Contest

  • Amount $10,000
  • Deadline June 7, 2024

We’re giving away $20,000 in cash scholarships to high school students who make the best prom attire out of Duck® Brand Duct Tape! New this year? We want to make sure everyone has a chance to enter and win no matter what prom looks like for you. So, we have removed the requirement to wear your one-of-a-kind creation to prom -- you just need to be enrolled in high school or a home school ... Read more

ConnectHER Film Festival

  • Amount $5,000
  • Deadline June 15, 2024

The ConnectHER Film Festival is an international youth competition that welcomes short films about issues that impact women and girls. Before making a film for submission, please read all of the following entry requirements and FAQs. Films must focus on one of our topic areas listed on our website. Categories include global girls’ education, women and work, ending violence against women, women ... Read more

Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway

  • Amount $100,000
  • Deadline October 11, 2024

Attention, students! Get ready to elevate your educational journey with the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway. If you're aged between 18 and 24, this is your chance to step onto the field at a Conference Champ Game and turn your dreams into reality. Sponsored by the iconic soft drink company Dr Pepper, this renowned scholarship program is not just about winning; it's about making an impact on your ... Read more

Annual Sphinx Competition

  • Amount $50,000
  • Deadline October 23, 2024

The Sphinx Competition is a national competition offering young Black and Latinx classical string players (violin, viola, cello, or double bass) a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges, and to perform with and receive mentorship from established professional musicians. Application requirements include a video audition (please refer to the audition ... Read more

VFW Voice of Democracy Competition

  • Amount $35,000
  • Deadline October 31, 2024

Since 1947, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) has dedicated itself to fostering patriotism and nurturing the potential of the future generation. The Voice of Democracy audio-essay program, initiated by the VFW, provides a remarkable platform for high school students (grades 9-12) to express their thoughts on democratic and patriotic themes through recorded essays. The national first place winner ... Read more

Prudential Emerging Visionaries

  • Amount $15,000
  • Deadline November 2, 2024

At Prudential, we believe in recognizing and empowering young visionaries who are committed to finding innovative solutions to financial and societal challenges in their communities. If you are between the ages of 14 and 18 and have a transformative idea, the Emerging Visionaries Scholarship is an opportunity to turn your vision into reality. Key Features: • Age Group: Open to young ... Read more

Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholarship

  • Amount $250,000
  • Deadline November 8, 2024

Each year, nearly 1,900 students enter the Regeneron STS, submitting original research in critically important scientific fields of study. Unique among high school competitions, the Regeneron STS focuses on identifying, inspiring, and engaging the most promising scientists among the nation’s high school seniors. All Regeneron STS entrants must follow the official rules of entry, which outline ... Read more

Colgate-Palmolive Haz La U Scholarship

  • Amount $10,000
  • Deadline November 13, 2024

At Colgate, we believe that a higher education is a path to a brighter future and are dedicated to helping students get there. That’s why, in partnership with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and as part of the Foundation’s Youth Awards, we sponsor “Haz La U” (Make the U), a college grant program for high school seniors of Hispanic heritage. Have you focused on academic excellence, dedicated ... Read more

Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award

  • Amount $10,000
  • Deadline November 15, 2024

To be eligible to apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Young Artist Award, applicants must: be classical instrumentalists, vocalists and composers who are full-time high school students (ages 13-18) and have not yet entered college; have strong musical ability and a willingness to participate in the Learning and Media Lab Fellowship; demonstrate financial need; demonstrate a strong commitment ... Read more

Dell Scholars Program

  • Amount $20,000
  • Deadline December 1, 2024

The Dell Scholars program recognizes that achieving college graduation involves more than just financial support. It was intricately designed to offer a comprehensive support system that addresses the challenges students commonly encounter during their pursuit of a degree. Acknowledging the significant burden of college costs on students and their families, the program annually selects 500 Dell ... Read more

Hagan Scholarship Foundation

  • Amount $60,000
  • Deadline December 1, 2024

The Hagan Scholarship stands as a nationwide beacon, a need-based merit scholarship specifically designed for high-achieving rural students. This scholarship opportunity is tailored for those who graduate from public high schools situated in over twenty eligible states, specifically in counties with fewer than 50,000 residents. Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens, residents of an eligible ... Read more

Last Reviewed: December 2023